Yuxi Zhang

About Yuxi Zhang

The role of prostate cancer stem cell regulated by microRNA in the formation of androgen-independent prostate cancer

Male hormones (androgens) fuel prostate cancer progression and the first line of treatment is Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT). Unfortunately, most prostate cancer patients ultimately become resistant to ADT. This stage of prostate cancer is termed castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) and heralds metastasis and an increased risk for death.

Researchers recently identified prostate cancer-specific stem cells (PrCSC) that are proposed to play a major role in the development of treatment resistance and progression of prostate cancer. Studies of PrCSCs have shown that these cells are capable of self-renewal, possess enhanced tumor-initiating capabilities, do not rely on androgens for growth and survival and are therefore more resistant to treatment than other cancerous cells. In a previous study, Dr. Zhang has identified a sub-population of PrCSCs that increase in numbers upon treatment with ADT. He observed that this specific sub-population of stem cells decreased when the castration-resistant tumors were treated with androgens and a different PrCSC subset became more prominent in the tumors.

Based on these findings, Dr. Zhang proposes that there are two different sub-populations of stem cells that arise during prostate cancer progression from the androgen-dependent stage to castration-resistance. Based on the enhanced self-renewal and tumor-initiating capabilities of stem cells, Dr. Zhang proposes a transition of one type of PrCSC from one type to another during the progression of the disease. He proposes to study the individual populations of stem cells and the genes that govern their development.

MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are nucleic acids that regulate gene expression. Dr. Zhang proposes to identify the specific miRNAs that regulate the transformation of androgen-dependent prostate stem cells to androgen-independent stem cells. These studies proposed by Dr. Zhang may provide validation for miRNAs as potential targets for therapy against the development of androgen-independent prostate cancer.

Award

The 2012 Shmuel Meitar – PCF Young Investigator Award

Yuxi Zhang, MD, PhD

The First Hospital of China Medical University

Mentor:

Chuize Kong, MD, PhD